Free tapas and gorgeous setting: Cuenca

You have only a few days to spend outside the Spanish capital? You’ve had enough of the noise and smog of Madrid? Or you’d like to experience the Andalusian tradition of free tapas without traveling hours to the South? Check out Cuenca. As we admire the dramatic setting of the old town, it’s hard to understand how the ancient Iberians and even the Romans could overlook this place. It was the Arabs who built the first fort between the two rivers and called the town Kunka. It remained in Muslim hands for centuries before it was taken by the Spanish. …

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The French Way – 10 tips to prepare for your pilgrimage

El Camino Francés, or the French Way, is a centuries old pilgrimage route that takes you from the French side of the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela. The French Way is only one alternative route of El Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) but definitely the most popular and best known one. In recent years it has been described and promoted in a number of books and films and thousands of people walk (or cycle) the roughly 800 km. Although it is usually described as a journey to take in one go in about a month, this is …

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Bohemian Paradise: 3 must see places

The Bohemian Paradise in Czechia (the Czech Republic) is a place where you become a child again. Or feel like Indiana Jones. You can find rocks of bizarre shape, labyrinths of moss-covered cliffs, lakes and waterfalls in a relatively compact area. And if that’s not enough, history lovers can admire old castles and everyone will enjoy a walk in one of the cute towns of the region. You can find the Bohemian Paradise in the Czech Republic, or more precisely in the north of Bohemia. It’s around 100 km north-east from the capital, Prague. This land of special natural beauty …

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Albanian coffee culture

Sophisticated and highly social ” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]   It’s a typical morning scene in the thousands of cafés and bars thriving throughout this small Mediterranean country. People young and old (though mainly male) are sitting around small round tables, leisurely sipping their cups of espresso. You won’t see people having a quick cup at the counter like in Italy. They take their time with their Albanian “avash-avash” attitude and not only in the morning, far from it. It’s quite OK to have 4-5 cups of strong coffee a day and even late in the evening. Albanian coffee culture …

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Hungary’s leaning tower and other beauties

Day trip in North-East Hungary Admire a fairy-tale palace, cross a floating bridge and meet Hungary’s own leaning tower on a day trip from Miskolc to Tokaj You can travel by: bicycle or car Distance: about 90 km Return trip: hourly trains from Tokaj or Bodrogkeresztúr Tokaj is a pretty small town in North-East Hungary and home to one of the best known Hungarian export items, Tokaji wine. The town and the nearby villages offer wine-tasting programs for all budgets but there is more to this area than just alcohol. Tokaj has a nicely renovated centre with lovely houses, cafés …

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Dizzying temperatures and a foaming maniac

Balkans Cycling Trip – Days 35-36 9-10 August 2017: Sidari – Ksamil We leave Sidari and head back to the capital of Corfu. This time our timing is better and we manage to squeeze two days’ distance into one despite the dizzying temperatures. It’s great to be back in Ksamil for one more relaxing day. Distance: 92 km Total distance: 1622 km Back to Albania As so often during our travels, we changed our plans again on our last day on Corfu. Originally we were going to head to the mountains directly from Igoumenitsa and reach Leskovik, high in the …

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Puncture after flat tire and a little sightseeing

Balkans Cycling Trip – Days 31-34 5-8 August 2017: Igoumenitsa – Sidari We wake up on the sandy beach and miss the early boat because of a puncture (followed by another one not long after). We spend hours in downtown Kerkyra (Corfu City) before cycling up north to Sidari. A modest distance but tough hills and yet another puncture slow us… Distance: 52+40 km Total distance: 1530 km Sleeping on the beach was not as peaceful as we expected: we were woken by stray dogs and the waves several times but at least we were ready to go shortly after …

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Greek coffee and tons of mosquitoes

Balkans cycling trip, Day 30 The day starts with a romantic ferry trip and breakfast in a forgotten village. Then we finally cross the border and arrive in Greece! Roadside dinner, mosquitoes attack us and we take a shower under the stars on our 30th day. 4 August 2017: Ksamil – Igoumenitsa (Greece) Distance: 65 km Total distance: 1438 km Our last night in Ksamil was anything but ideal. Two groups of guests arrived at the campsite around midnight and it took them nearly an hour to to put up the two simple tents. Then, when we were trying to …

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Stray dogs and rooftop camping

Balkans cycling trip, Days 28-29 2-3 August 2017: Qeparo – Ksamil A short day’s cyling along the picturesque Albanian Riviera and coffee stops in some lovely villages on the way. Then another day by the sea – perhaps we’re getting lazy? Rooftop camping in Ksamil is highly recommended! Distance: 52 km Total distance: 1373 km The day before the owner of the apartment house warned us to leave before 9. Normally I would have found it far too early but we wanted to make good use of the cooler hours of the morning so we didn’t mind. We managed to …

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Fig jam and careless days

Balkans cycling trip, Days 24-27  29 July – 1 August 2017: Qeparo We thought we deserved a few days’ rest and Qeparo was the perfect place to relax. Lying on the beach, picking figs and preparing fig jam were the main programs during these 4 days. Distance: 0 km Total distance: 1321 km We felt we deserved a few days off cycling after the hard days through the mountains. Anyway, Qeparo was one of our main destinations apart from Greece because we had spent very pleasant days in this small seaside town in 2009 and 2012.  The four days were …

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